Home > Astronomy, Cosmology, Dark Energy & Matter, General Astronomy > Astronomers Report Dark Matter ‘Halos’ May Contain Stars, Disprove Other Theories

Astronomers Report Dark Matter ‘Halos’ May Contain Stars, Disprove Other Theories


Could it be that dark matter “halos” — the huge, invisible cocoons of mass that envelop entire galaxies and account for most of the matter in the universe — aren’t completely dark after all but contain a small number of stars? Astronomers from UCLA, UC Irvine and elsewhere make a case for that in the Oct. 25 issue of the journal Nature.

Astronomers have long disagreed about why they see more light in the universe than it seems they should — that is, why the infrared light they observe exceeds the amount of light emitted from known galaxies.

When looking at the cosmos, astronomers have seen what are neither stars nor galaxies nor a uniform dark sky but mysterious, sandpaper-like smatterings of light, which UCLA’s Edward L. (Ned) Wright refers to as “fluctuations.” The debate has centered around what exactly the source of those fluctuations is.

“The dark matter halo is not totally dark,” Wright said. “A tiny fraction, one-tenth of a percent, of the stars in the central galaxy has been spread out into the halo, and this can produce the fluctuations that we see.”

Full Story: http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/dark-matter-halos-may-contain-239960.aspx

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